Faithful Observations: Revival or Bust!

By Bob Shillingstad

That title “revival or bust” is a term from a Christian commentator that I listen to whenever he gets to a new level of frustration. Most of us look at this crazy world with the same conclusion and yet we have to realize we serve a sovereign God and with Him we are over-comers and we should not fear.  In the next few weeks we will observe Passover which begins this year on March 27th and Resurrection Sunday on April 4th.  Passover reminds us of God’s power to free the Jews from bondage in miraculous ways and in the process led them to the promised land.  Christ’s death on the cross reminds us that we were saved from the bondage of sin and now have the promise the eternal life in Christ.

“Fear not” is mentioned in the Bible more than 365 times and “fear” in general is mentioned over a 1,000 times.  There is the fear of the Lord, a reverential awe, a reverence for His power and glory, but also respect for His wrath and anger (Psalm 111:10). This is a beneficial fear.  The second type of fear is not beneficial at all, this is the “spirit of fear” mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7.  A spirit of fearfulness and timidity does not come from God and when it overcomes us we need to trust in and love God completely (Isaiah 41:10). Sadly we see people engulfed in fear and do not look back at God’s faithfulness. That is what Passover and the Resurrection is all about.  God asks us to “remember” hundreds of times in the Bible. Remember persons, His covenant, answering prayer and in many other ways.

Remember the miracles He has done to establish our own country.  The “awakening” or revival in the early 1700’s that was led by pastors in the pulpits and evangelists like George Whitfield.  Without this revival from the Lord we would not have had a revolution and the colonies united and a Constitution based on the Bible.  Worst, we could have ended up like the French Revolution which took place shortly after ours and it ended up denying God and His truth.  The end results were bloodshed, more than 70,000 dead at the guillotine, churches destroyed and we still see the results of that today.

We wonder if a revival could reach people who apparently have rejected God and seem to glorify a sinful lifestyle instead?  The second “great awakening” took place about 75 years after the first in the early 1800’s west of the Appalachian mountains – the “frontier” of that time. It had been settled by Scotch-Irish with little church background, murderers and thieves escaping the law in the home state and settling out of reach of the courts in the frontier.  Circuit riders preaching the gospel at camp meetings outdoors saw miraculous conversions by the hundreds. People fell over where they were as the gospel was preached, only to get up completely changed. The accounts from preachers are exciting to read and today we call this area of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Ohio valley the “Bible Belt” today.

The “hippie” movement of the late ’60’s and 70’s is another example.  “Drugs, sex and rock and roll” was their mantra.  Free love, LSD, rejecting of authority were their guiding principles of life.  What happened?  The “Jesus movement” swept over much of the country coming out of California and thousands were saved.  This was the beginning of the Calvary denomination led by Chuck Smith.

There are so many more revivals and stories of what God has done in our country there just isn’t room here to fit it all in.  Don’t live in fear, we serve an awesome, all powerful God.  Remember what He has done. In order to turn things around spiritually, fiscally and morally, only a true revival would do- a revival that would need to take place nationally, internationally and personally.  We are living in the “times of the signs” mentioned in scripture but that makes it more imperative that we preach the word and reach the unsaved. Even as we seem to be a Romans Chapter One culture we have to remember that there are a lot of lost people but none that are irredeemable.

Pray for our country and its leaders, be involved in local government and the issues. Encourage your pastor and don’t be shy about sharing the good news of Christ yourself. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  -2 Chronicles 7:14